February 9, 2012
Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park Camp
Half our group opted to take the hot air balloon ride this morning ($500 pp), but I decided to stay on the ground and search out more animals. The morning is a perfect time for a game drive because it isn’t too hot yet and hungry animals are searching for their breakfast. We came across giraffes and gazelles, elephants and monkeys.
We caught the tail end of the wildebeest migration but the zebra migration was in full effect. Thousands of them were marching through the Serengeti, mostly in an straight orderly line, which is actually a defense mechanism. When zebras walk in a line their stripes are too confusing for lions to register so they are less likely to be attacked. Neat, eh?
Speaking of lions, as we were watching the zebras at a watering hole someone spotted a lioness in the bushes either trying to beat the heat or waiting for an unsuspecting zebra to separate from the group. Every once in a while she’d lazily pop her head up, scan the area, then lay back down.
In Africa, the Big Five are the lion, the wildebeest, the elephant, the rhino and the leopard (the hardest to spot of them all). We had already seen the first four so we started scanning the trees, a leopards favourite hangout. We drove for a few hours before spotting a group of trucks clustered around a lone tree. We headed over and stretched out on one of the low branches was our last puzzle piece, the leopard. She was gorgeous and it was funny how much this huge cat reminded me of my own back home, except where this cat could take down an antelope mine can only handle flies and moths.
By this time the sun was pretty high in the sky and it was getting pretty hot so we headed back to the campsite for a little siesta. In the afternoon we went to the Serengeti info centre and learnt about the area and the research that they do there. We had a short game drive as the sun was setting and spotted a family of giraffes, zebras and a herd of elephants having dinner. Everyone was pretty exhausted and it was an early night for most.
Breakfast: bread, cereal, banana, coffee/tea
Lunch: crepes, sausage, fruit salad, baked beans
Dinner: potato garlic soup, pizza (with nuts on it?), spiced beef, rice, beans